Legal custody relates to all the important decisions concerning the children – school, health, religious education, community involvement, etc.
When two people decide to get a divorce it’s because they don’t want to be together anymore. Maybe they’ve fallen out of love or maybe they’ve found someone else. That’s how adults see things, but what about the children issued from that failed marriage? Unless there’s a history of domestic violence or abuse, the children still want to be with their parents. Both of them.
If you’re getting a divorce in the state of New Jersey that’s how the judge will look at things. The children’s best interests require that they have a continuous and meaningful relationship with both parents. As the divorcing couple you have two options – leave it to the judge to decide or come to an agreement with your ex using the mediation services of skilled New Jersey child custody lawyers.
Often enough, lawyers are asked if New Jersey is a mother state and if the mother can get full custody of the children. If you look at the law, it says very clearly that both parents have equal rights when it comes to getting custody of their children. Wherever possible, a judge will try to award joint custody, so both parents get to spend an equal amount of time with the children and to stay involved in the children’s lives.
If the children are small, the judge will be more inclined to award physical custody of the kids to the mother. That’s not to say that men cannot provide the same level of care and affection, but it’s usually the mother that deals with meals, bathing the children or putting them to bed. It is in the children’s best interests that they continue to do so.
However, even if the mother is the primary custodian, the judge will grant ample visitation rights to the father, or parenting time in legal terms.
If the parents can come up with a suitable arrangement regarding physical custody, you can get your Newark child custody lawyers to put it in legal form in the parenting plan. If an agreement is not possible, the judge will probably order an investigation, usually conducted by the Family Division, and base their decision on its findings. Be aware that you might not like the judge’s decision, but it will be mandatory.
There’s also the question of who gets legal custody of the children. If it’s fairly common for one parent to get sole physical custody, for legal matters judges tend to prefer joint custody. Legal custody relates to all the important decisions concerning the children – school, health, religious education, community involvement, etc. When the parents have joint legal custody they both get a say in their children’s lives.
Experienced child custody lawyers can help you negotiate an agreement and put it in a legal document. The parenting plan must be submitted to the judge for approval, but this is usually a mere formality. Once the child custody issue is settled, you can finalize the divorce.
However, if you have strong reasons to want to limit the other parent’s involvement in the children’s lives, seasoned divorce lawyers will help you gather all the evidence you need and present it to the court.